Killer Mike, The Killer

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 08.23.12 in Reviews

There have been a lot of great solo rappers — or rappers with great singles — who have been part of the Dungeon Family: Witchdoctor, Cool Breeze, Slimm Calhoun, Backbone. Killer Mike is the one who has emerged as the most successful. Groomed to be “next” just as Outkast was dissolving, Mike was the gruff foil to the dexterous duo on late-career tracks like “Snappin’ and Trappin’,” “The Whole World” and “Flip Flop Rock.” Mike’s best solo moments capture a young rapper slowly mastering his mentor’s playbook and paying homage at every turn. He was poised to follow his 2003 debut Monster with the forceful and politically charged Ghetto Extraordinary. It was shelved indefinitely, but some of its better moments surfaced on his 2006 mixtape, The Killer. On “Bad Day Worst Day” he talks trash about Creflo Dollar, Adolph Hitler and everyone in-between over some flickering organ, while “Ni—as Down South” is a majestic, sweltering planting-of-the-flag classic. Always the dutiful disciple, “Dungeon Family Dedication” pays tribute to the ones who made it all possible, the rise and the fall.